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Public Hearing into Privatisation and Public Debt in Pakistan

May 30, 2023

PSI, FES Pakistan office, and PSI affiliates are organising two public hearings to help begin a conversation with the community about the role of government in delivering services and developing an alternate vision for public services. We are calling for oral and written submissions of individuals and organisations to build evidence and highlight the impact of privatisation failures and IMF loan conditionalities on delivery of quality public services, jobs, workers, communities.

Pakistan is enduring an economic crisis. Various factors including massive external debt, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, recent inflationary pressures from commodity imports, devastating floods in 2022, and the climate crisis are all contributing to the situation.

The government is working with various international financial institutions to secure financial support and loans to overcome the crisis. In order to receive the loans, the government is compelled to accept loan conditionalities including privatisation of public sector enterprises, removal of subsidies on public services including electricity, and reductions in the public sector wage bill. Some of these conditions are also vehemently opposed by the government itself.

In Pakistan, we are witnessing privatisation initiatives which are affecting access to quality public service and leading to job losses, attacks on workers’ rights and loss of public resources. Many sectors including in electricity, oil and gas, telecommunications, public transport (e.g. railway, airlines), municipal services, health care services, education, banking and finance, and in agriculture sector are affected by privatisation.


PSI, FES Pakistan and PSI affiliates are inviting individuals and organisations to send submissions and participate in two public hearings on privatisation and public debt in Pakistan on Aug 3 in Karachi and Sept 14-15 in Islamabad.

Pakistan Public Hearing on Privatisation (ENG FInal)

In this context, PSI and FES Pakistan office and PSI affiliates are organising the “Pakistan - Public Hearing into Privatisation and Public Debt.” Two public hearings will be held, one in Karachi on August 2023 and another one in Islamabad on 14-15 September2023. These public hearings, through participant’s oral and written submissions, will build evidence and highlight the impact of privatisation and IMF loan conditionalities on service delivery jobs, workers, and communities. The public hearings will help begin a conversation with the community about the role of government in delivering services and developing an alternate vision for public services.

During these events, submissions and testimony from PSI affiliates, trade union allies, workers, civil society organisations, peoples’ movements, and people who use public services will be presented.

This public hearing panel will be chaired by senior judges and economic policy experts. Policy recommendations emerging from these events will be published and sent to the government of Pakistan, the United Nations Independent Expert on Foreign Debt and international financial institutions and media.

Terms of Reference for submissions and testimonies to the public hearing 

Definition for the purpose of this public inquiry.

Privatisation is the transfer, in whole or part, of public assets and/or service provision from government(s) to an entity outside the government. Privatisation includes the outsourcing of service delivery, contractualisation, casualisation, sale of public assets, ‘user choice’, voucher systems, public-private partnerships, commissioning, social impact investment, and mutualisation. 

As provided in the attached form, submissions to the public inquiry panel should include concrete and concise inputs which may address some, or all, of the following aspects as applicable:  

  1.  Example(s) of privatization in Pakistan 

  2. Causes of privatisation 

  3. Impact of privatization, underfunding of public services and other IMF prescriptions on 

    • Delivery of quality public services 

    • Service delivery to vulnerable populations and remote communities 

    • Public service capacity 

    • Government accountability 

    • Transparency 

    • Wages and conditions of workers in privatized entities / operations 

    • Costs to government and the service user compared to publicly owned services 

  1. What alternatives to privatisation are available? 

  1. What should be the role of the government in quality public services delivery? 

  1. Recommendations: What steps should be taken to address negative effects? 

Please use the attached form to provide written submissions. On behalf of the institution or as an individual, one can make submissions individually or collectively for the consideration of the public inquiry panel. Submissions can be made during in-person events and online.

Submissions can be sent to [email protected] using the subject line, Submission Pakistan People's Inquiry 2023. You can also use the link on the right side of the this page (see Contribute files and links anonymously) to submit the filled out form, related links, or multimedia. Please send your submissions on or before August 1, 2023.

Confidentiality of submissions. If an individual does NOT want to reveal his/her identity in public for personal security reasons, their identity will remain confidential. As required, the inquiry panel may reach out to you for supplementary information.  

Participation. Representatives from organizations or people directly impacted can participate in this event. Please contact PSI South Asia Office ([email protected]) for further details to participate in the public inquiry events in in Karachi on August 3, 2023 and in Islamabad on September 14-15, 2023.  

Based on the inputs received through written submissions and during the physical meetings, the inquiry panel will present its recommendations to the government and other relevant national and international agencies.  

Follow us on twitter: @PSIglobalunion @PSIasiapacific and @FES_PAK, use hashtag #PakistanPrivatisationHearing

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